Breaking Inertia’s Magical Power: Can companies like FirstEnergy change their ways?

Beyond physics, Merriam-Webster describes inertia as, “indisposition to motion, exertion, or change.” We all know that if you’ve been doing anything a certain way for a long time, it can be hard to let go. But at some point, outside forces can become strong enough to alter a course, and the earlier that new course is accepted, the easier a transition can be.

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A Shared Vision For the Future of Global Stock Markets

The United Nations is holding its annual climate change conference in Bonn this week, but the tone this year is different. Driven by a growing litany of harms associated with a warming planet, global governments are getting down to the brass tacks of implementing the Paris Climate Accord. Even the two long-time holdouts, Syria and Nicaragua, have finally pledged to join the Accord. In fact, the U.S. stands alone in threatening to withdraw and ignoring reality while doubling down on fossil fuels.

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Updates from Houston: Mitigating Methane Emissions from Natural Gas

Having spent my college years at Rice University, Houston will always hold a special place in my heart. I also remember experiencing my first hurricane there freshman year — the winds and rain were scary, but we hunkered down indoors and were fortunate to not suffer serious impacts. Watching Harvey approach from afar in August 2017, I again hoped for the best, but then the horror sunk in as friends posted photos and videos of unprecedented destruction. The National Weather Service had to develop new colors for its coding to account for the rain and floods caused by Harvey. The storm caused an estimated $190 billion worth of damage, disrupting industries and destroying homes. Only 20% of those hardest hit had flood insurance.

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Why are 401(k) Plans Not Aligned With Sustainability Goals?

As millennial-aged employees now represent the majority of the U.S. workforce, it is increasingly important that corporate management finds ways to engage them in the company. Creating 401(k) plans which connect to their core values — like solving human, social and environmental problems through their work and investments — can be a huge advantage to the company as a whopping 85% of millennials surveyed in the 2016 US Trust study said they consider their investment decisions as “a way to express their social, political, and environmental values.” This attracts the best talent, spurs employee engagement, extends retention, and sparks innovation.

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Clean Power Plan Statement

The Trump administration’s announcement to end the Clean Power Plan increases risk to investors now and into the future. Fossil-fired utilities are the source of one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. is already paying a high public health and economic price from climate change, including heat waves, droughts, wildfires, super-storms, and growing numbers of global refugees impacted by rising seas and famine. The harms of climate change will only grow, hampering economic growth and harming communities.

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Starbucks Needs to Up its Game on Reusables, Recycling

We have followed Starbucks’ actions on cup recycling and more sustainable packaging for many years. In some ways, it is a leader in recycling and sustainability efforts on packaging. It is the only major retail coffee company to set specific recycling and materials reduction goals. But due to its continuing failure to meet these goals, and new challenges emerging that link plastic packaging to ocean pollution, As You Sow has filed a shareholder proposal with the company for 2018, asking it to strengthen its efforts on sustainable packaging.

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India Investors Put Faith in Clean Energy

The need to go green has been called “an inconvenient truth” — a distraction from the regular ways of doing business, and not necessarily a money-maker. Markets around the world, however, are proving that going green is a solid way of making green, too. The Carbon Clean 200 is a bi-annual report released by my colleagues at As You Sow and Corporate Knights that catalogues the top-performing companies that make at least 10% of their annual sales from products and services related to clean energy, and India had a very strong showing with 7 companies listed in the Clean200 Q3 2017 edition.

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The Future We Fight For

Intolerance and hatred have no place in our country, or for that matter on our planet. We condemn the fear based violent actions by a minority of self-proclaimed racists. Their violence and anger must be met with unity by those who believe in equality, justice, and human rights for all.

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As You Sow
The Climate Crisis Hiding in Your Cookies

Have you eaten an Oreo cookie recently? Or a frozen pizza, or a bowl of ice cream? Do you use soap, or laundry detergent, or cosmetic products? Then you’re likely buying products that contain palm oil, the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. It’s found in more than half of all packaged products purchased by Americans — but this global explosion in palm oil production is fueling deforestation, climate change, and other harmful environmental and social impacts.

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Simple Guide to Fossil Free Investing

Fossil free investing has grown exponentially in recent years. Faith-based and individual investors led the way in using environmental and social criteria to align their investments with their values. Large institutional investors like foundations and company 401(k)s are starting to follow their lead. As Washington D.C.’s environmental regression has gained steam, investors large and small are loudly reaffirming commitments to a low-carbon economy.

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Pension Voting on Climate Change Proposals

As part of its annual report on CEO pay, As You Sow collects pension fund proxy voting records, either through websites or from public information requests. Given the importance of climate change, we decided to review fund voting on climate proposals. We reviewed 44 proposals (falling under four categories discussed below), comparing the voting records of 17 funds for which we had data. This represented a total of 628 votes captured, as not every fund owned each company.

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Your Hard-Earned Dollars, Invested in Climate-Killing Coal Power

Retiring coal-fired power plants could be the most effective use of major investments to limit global warming. That’s why Fossil Free Funds combined forces with Macroclimate® to highlight investments in the most carbon-intensive utilities with coal-fired power plants — companies that can be found in nearly everyone’s retirement portfolio.

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Is This the Beginning of the End for Polystyrene and PVC?

Is this the beginning of the end for expanded polystyrene, the versatile but often criticized and increasingly risky foam packaging used for takeout food, coffee cups and package cushioning? Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new report, “The New Plastics Economy — Catalyzing Action,” released last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and endorsed by 40 global leaders, recommended replacing polystyrene (PS), expanded polystyrene (EPS), and polyvinyl chloride as packaging materials globally.

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